Today we’re very excited to announce Kathy Locke as our new Creative Director.
Kathy’s skill in layout and design and love of Toyota Adventure will help propel Toyota Cruisers & Trucks to a new level of exceptionalism.
What do you do when you’ve explored every FJ Summit trail in the Ouray-Silverton-Telluride area multiple times? Find something new.
The Hema Explorer system helped to scout a high alpine lake that we’ve never explored. With a route planned in the cloud, I synced the tracks to my phone & tablet and downloaded the proper maps. We hit the pavement south of Ridgway, headed for Red Mountain Pass.
After turning off the highway, we found a standard forest road complete with a washboard surface. We aired down to 22psi on the new tires, hit record on the app, and headed for the hills.
Despite the cloudy & rainy day, we were able to find some really great views throughout the ~8 mile journey which included over 3,000ft in elevation gain. We spotted the Golden Horn a few times, along with several lakes, waterfalls, and great potential campsites.
The end of our trip revealed a socked-in yet still beautiful Clear Lake. At an elevation near 12,000ft the lake is actually....quite clear. It’s also cold, and a really great place for lunch. Alas, the rain caught us so we enjoyed our sandwiches in the comfort of the GX.
This trail is suitable for any stock 4x4 or SUV with low-range and you should plan 2-4 hours for a round trip, depending on how often you stop to capture the views. You can see our track on the Hema Explorer Cloud: http://hema.li/clrlkco
To get your copy of the
Summer 2017 Issue:
"You know you’d love another project, you need one."
More true words have never been spoken.
If you’ve followed our publication for long you’ll know that we've always tried to focus on interesting topics, vehicles, and ideas to help get you out into the great unknown with your Toyota truck or SUV. Our journey has been covered in great detail within these pages.... now the next chapter begins.
As our lives change, so do our needs for daily transportation and weekend exploration. Our original TRD FJ Cruiser served us well for nearly 10 years, however as our family grew, we had to move on. Our 2007 GX-470 was a great vehicle, but came along around the same time that we needed to do a 'flagship' build (See TCT Explorer 2015-2016). The Tundra is still by all accounts almost the perfect exploring vehicle, and will be missed in our stable. Alas, daily driving, mileage, and my 'need' for a new project all resulted in our latest vehicle. "Project 4"
The Lexus GX 460 is by no means an unknown or unproven vehicle. In most parts of the world, this platform is known as the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado 150. It's closely related to the 5th Gen 4Runner, and enthusiasts throughout North America already have great builds for inspiration.
So why is the 460 the best fit for our next project?
First, its Land Cruiser & Toyota heritage means that we know it will be a solid truck for many years. Ours is a 2012 model with just over 70,000 miles on the clock. Just barely broken in from a Toyota perspective.
Also, the newer version of the GX includes the more efficient 4.6L 1UR-FEV8 engine, the same that powers small V8 Tundra trucks. At 301hp and 329ft lb of torque we have plenty of power to get us anywhere we want to explore. That power also hauls or pulls whatever gear is required for just about any adventure.
Finally, since the 460 debuted in 2010 as a luxury vehicle, they are just now starting to price down to what we consider a 'normal' level for an off-road or overland build. Finally, since the 460 debuted in 2010 as a luxury vehicle, they are just now starting to price down to what we consider a 'normal' level for an off-road or overland build.
Unlike the TCT Explorer, which was essentially a show truck with a thirst for dirt, the GX will be more of a 'sleeper'. We're two months in and so far, we've only added tires (See Economical A/T Sidebar). Next on the list are sliders from Metal Tech 4x4, followed by a fully tuned suspension with minimal lift from Toytec Lifts. We’re also looking at a Pioneer rack system from Rhino Racks, USA as a great lightweight option. Beyond those basic modifications, we'll see where the wind takes us.
Our goal for the GX-460 is to show how with very little effort, a luxury SUV can be configured to travel anywhere a North American family wishes to explore.
Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and within the pages of this magazine to see how the GX-460 is an amazing family overland explorer! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and within the pages of this magazine to see how the GX-460 is an amazing family overland explorer!
Economical A/T (Sidebar)
We expect to own the GX-460 for many years, so we'll likely try many sets of tires for the truck, which is primarily daily driver along with very little towing, and some trail use.
The choice for our first set seems like it was 'meant to be'. Let me explain. Less than one week before FJ Summit XI we suffered a small hole in an old tire, so we needed something quickly. Price is always a consideration, but we also knew we needed to move from a standard passenger tire to a slightly more aggressive all terrain, while maintaining as much efficiency as possible.
A search of available options in our area led (as it almost always does) to Discount Tire. I found the economical "Trailfinder" A/T at the local store, but couldn't find any information about it online. More of an entry level tire than other options, this tire is exclusive to DT and is offered as "dependable performance and excellent value", and comes with a 45,000 mile warranty. That equals about two years of daily driving and a few off-road trips. Also, since this is a very new offering with little information published, it presents the perfect opportunity to test an entry level, economic option. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as we post updates on this tire over the next few months and years.
Load Rating: 116 (2705lb)
Weight: 9lb/tire heavier than OEM (36lb total)
To get your copy of the
Summer 2017 Issue:
Last month our readers filled out our annual Toyota Enthusiasts survey and we’ve just finished compiling the results.
We're excited to announce our new Toyota Cruisers & Trucks Store!
I've thought about the best way to create TCT apparel, gear, and swag for years - but I only recently found the right partner that can print our products on-demand so we can provide the best products for our fans.
The Rugged Charm of the just-released FT-4X Concept car is very clear. Like the FJ Cruiser concept back in 2003, some will love it - others will hate it.
As we previously discussed, Toyota has a full slate of capable, rugged, and dependable Trucks & SUVs. We should know, we’ve been covering them for more than a decade!
We've only seen one photo, and even though the FT-4X concept will be revealed in just a couple of days, the TCT team can't help but dream.
The last time we were this excited about a concept was well, before our magazine event existed. It was 2003 and the FJ Cruiser concept was revealed at the Chicago Auto show. The original concept had plenty of little fun things (like a gear shifter that doubled as a shovel handle) that were obviously just for show. Still, the design (that came from Calty Design Research) inspired thousands. The production FJC ended up inspiring our media company and in many ways re-invigorated the Toyota 4x4 world.
Our TCT Explorer Tundra just rolled 40,000 miles. It’s been a fun two years =). Our move to the Tundra platform was inspired in large part by the Toytec Lifts 2014 Tundra, so I thought it was the time we give that truck a little more attention.
Continued from 6 Days on Hema Map Patrol, Part 1.
Our inability to cross the Continental Divide via Union Pass outside of Pinedale, WY had us a little disappointed. However, after three hard days on the trail, we were happy for a nice night in a soft bed.